The pathophysiology of spinal stenosis is related to cord dysfunction elicited by a combination of mechanical compression and degenerative instability. With aging, the intervertebral disk degenerates and collapses, leading to spur formation. This most commonly occurs at C5-6 and C6-7. A relative decrease in spinal motion occurs at these levels, with a concomitant increase in spinal motion at C3-4 and C4-5. The spine responds to physiologic stresses with bone growth at the superior and inferior margins of the vertebral body (osteophytes).
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